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RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT: Week 2

Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Dolphins* Chargers
Quarterback 4th 4th
Running Back 16th 24th
Wide Receiver 8th 9th
Tight End 7th 8th
Defense/Special Teams 13th 16th
Vegas Line: Chargers -4.5
Vegas Over/Under:
 45.5
Lost in the fact that the Chargers allowed the 7th fewest fantasy points to RBs in Week 1 is the Broncos still racked up 140 rushing yards against them. I’m liking a well-rested Jay Ajayi in a position where the Dolphins may have to rely on him more than usual. Despite allowing just the 16th-most fantasy points to RBs in 2016, the Dolphins defense allowed the 4th-most rushing yards. Furthermore, Melvin Gordon lit this Dolphins team up for 132 total yards when they met. Byron Maxwell was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) number 10 ranked CB in 2016, but his matchup against Keenan Allen is not as imposing as one might think, as Maxwell struggled during the preseason amid reports the Dolphins were considering benching him.
Philip Rivers is a decent play, as the Dolphins allowed 254.1 pass yards and 1.9 touchdowns per contest to QBs in 2016, and Rivers’ supporting cast has improved this year. Tyrell Williams gashed the Dolphins in last season’s match to the tune of 5-125-1, and should be much more of a factor than he was last week against Denver. The way to attack the Chargers appears to be down the seams, so I’ll go out on a limb here and say Jarvis Landry has the best day out of the Dolphins’ receivers after Denver slot-man Benny Fowler victimized the L.A. for two touchdowns on Monday night. Additionally, the Broncos’ tight ends combined for 5-98-0 in that contest, which bodes well for Julius Thomas‘ outlook in Week 2.
Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates both have a good matchup, as the Dolphins allowed the third-most TD passes to tight ends last season. However, predicting which one of them finds the end zone requires psychic powers. This is not the week DeVante Parker starts his breakout campaign, as the Chargers’ excellent CB duo of Jason Verrett^and Casey Hayward limited Denver’s boundary receivers to just 93 yards last Monday. Double goes for Kenny Stills.

*Note: Since the Dolphins did not play Week 1, the rankings reflect the team’s 2016 performance from Weeks 1-16.

^Update: Jason Verrett (knee) missed practice on Thursday. If he ends up sitting out of the contest, Devante Parker gets upgraded to a yellow light option.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position 49ers Seahawks
Quarterback 17th 12th
Running Back 8th 12th
Wide Receiver 17th 5th
Tight End 24th 14th
Defense/Special Teams 7th 10th
Vegas Line: Seahawks -14
Vegas Over/Under:
42
The Seahawks are expected to take last week’s frustrations out on the lowly 49ers, as Seattle is favored to win by 14 points.  stop the pass last season. Last time Russell Wilson faced San Fran at home, he carpet-bombed them with 4 touchdown passes. Likewise, Doug Baldwin exploded for 8-164-1 in that same contest, and will look to try and get back on track after being held in check by Green Bay. The Seattle D/ST should reward owners who stuck by them through Week 1, as the game script should force the 49ers into pass-mode early, giving their pass rush a chance to build on their 4 sacks from last Sunday, and possibly add a defensive score (Seattle had one against Green Bay overturned due to penalty).
Carlos Hyde draws an unappealing matchup, as the Seahawks allowed just 3.0 YPC against Green Bay, and San Francisco enters this contest as 14-point underdogs. Hyde maintains RB2 status this week based on his projected usage though. Jimmy Graham‘s pedestrian 3-8-0 against Green Bay, combined with the 49ers’ shutdown of Greg Olsen makes me hesitant to recommend Graham as a rebound candidate this weekend.
Normally San Francisco is a RB matchup to exploit, but Seattle does not have a normal backfield. With Thomas Rawls (ankle) expected to make his 2017 debut, predicting touches among him, Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, and Chris Carson becomes even more difficult. Pierre Garcon could find some success in the short passing game similar to Randall Cobb last week, but I am not as confident in Brian Hoyer‘s ability to consistently get Garcon the ball as he contends with Seattle’s pass rush.

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2017 Fantasy Points Allowed
Position Redskins Rams
Quarterback 5th 27th
Running Back 13th 14th
Wide Receiver 8th 28th
Tight End 7th 19th
Defense/Special Teams 4th 26th
Vegas Line: Rams -3
Vegas Over/Under: 46
None.
Hopefully Todd Gurley‘s 2.1 YPC from Week 1 is not an ongoing concern, but it was encouraging to see him post 5-56-0 in the passing game. The Redskins’ defense led by Jonathan Allen and Zach Brown doesn’t figure to allow many rushing lanes, but they did give up 7-49-1 to Eagles’ RBs last week, so Gurley is more likely to contribute through the air than ground. Cooper Kupp should be busy in this contest, as he draws slot-CB Kendall Fuller in coverage, which should make a repeat of Kupp’s 4-76-1 from Week 1 feasible (Eagles’ slot-man Nelson Agholor burned Washington for 6-86-1). I can’t believe I’m actually endorsing Jared Goff as a fantasy option, but he appears in much greater command of the Rams offense, and Washington has so far shown no ability to stop the pass. There are worse QB streamers out there for Week 2. Terrelle Pryor appears cemented as the Redskins’ no. 1 receiver, drawing 11 targets from Kirk Cousins last week, but it is clear the two of them need to work on their timing. With Jordan Reed (toe) battling what appears to be a chronic foot injury, he appears to be no more than a yellow-light play until he shows otherwise. I can’t give the L.A. too much credit for shutting down Scott Tolzien/Jacoby Brissett last week, but in Kirk Cousins’ only contest versus the Rams in 2015, he threw for a lowly 203 yards and a touchdown.
Sammy Watkins figures to draw Josh Norman in coverage, who allowed just 3-38-0 to Alshon Jeffery last Sunday. The Redskins’ run game was abysmal last week, generating just 13 rushes for 34 yards between Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson. The Redskins will not hesitate to abandon the run if Kelley falters early like he did against Philly, but Chris Thompson is too inconsistent to rely on for fantasy points. Jamison Crowder (hip) did not look healthy last week, going just 3-14-0 with a fumble lost, and needs to be shelved until he can shake off whatever is ailing him. Rams tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee don’t appear to be integral to the offense yet, but keep an eye out to see if one of them emerges against a defense that allowed 8-93-0 to Eagles TE Zach Ertz. The Rams D/ST was one of the top plays at the position last week, and they will welcome star DT Aaron Donald (holdout) back to the starting lineup, but Washington boasts much more competent offense than Indianapolis.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.